This is a proposed honors project in a 6th semester (if semester 1 is Spanish 1, and students do not take accelerated or summer courses) introduction to Cultural Studies for the Hispanic world. Professor Zero’s reaction to the proposal was stated more politely but it was, “That is not science!” Student did not understand and Professor Zero has not invented a way to communicate this so as to be understood while remaining kind.
The proposal is to inverview four women from four different Spanish speaking countries, on these questions:
1. What is the stereotypical woman from your country like? Are you like that? How or how not?
2. What is the stereotypical U.S. woman like, according to you?
Then statistics on the status of women in the relevant countries (e.g. number of women employed, in government, and so on) will be looked up and compared and contrasted to what these women say.
“What bibliography do you have or do you expect to seek?” “Is this an ethnography, a sociological study, or…?” was another. “Do you expect to demonstrate something about stereotypes, or about common misconceptions, perhaps? Do you think it is possible with such a small sample size?” was still another. The student is steadfast and says statistics on the status of women is a good bibliography … and does not want to write an essay, but create an alternative-format project from this data. I want to know where to look for a good study that interviews people and examines … ideology … like those Brazilianist ethnographies on perception of “race.”
What can I suggest to this student to improve the project? The issue is that regular, not just honors students are doing projects in this class and this proposal would not be acceptable even for a regular student because. it. is. not. science. I will accept simple projects such as, “How does Picasso’s Guernica communicate?” or much else. How can the project above be reformulated such that the student can study [women's perception of themselves and their situation, and the possible gap between these perceptions and certain measures of the conditions of their lives]?